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Dogs are NOT genetically predisposed to joint and bone defects. Here's photos and video on how to prevent slipping patellas, popping hocks, elbow and hip dysplasia in the dog.




by Barbara J. "BJ" Andrews, Publisher / AKC Master  Breeder


“Rubber knees” or “ii luxating patellas” are terms most experienced breeders are familiar with. Bad knees can be hereditary, just like being blond. But they can also be the result of injury, as in football players. Your breeder will have done everything possible to insure your puppy is from physically sound parents with strong legs and muscular development. Common sense is where you come in.


As with professional athletes, injuries can occur. Knee injuries and rupture of the cruciate ligament are the most common and much more likely to occur in puppies, overweight adult dogs, and those that are in poor muscular condition.


It is important to feed right and provide plenty of free play to exercise and develop his muscles. But let him do it at his own pace; never roadwork or force him to exercise beyond his desire to do so. Toy Fox Terriers (my breed) are active happy little dogs, always up for a game even hide and seek with you hiding in the closet! He loves to chase a ball, catch and shake a toy mouse, and carry sticks.  Most toy breeds fit that description.


Toy dogs are not water-loving breeds but if you’re in the pool, with a little gentle encouragement, he’ll join you and we all know, swimming is excellent for all animals. Sporting, Hounds, and Working breeds relish a good swim.  Race horses are conditioned after a leg injury by swimming laps in a special pool.


knee joint problems and slipping patellas are common in some breedsActually, chronic and repeated stress injury or accidental ligament rupture is predictable in a pudgy teenage pup that suddenly has a playmate with which to engage in vigorous exercise. Even high-rise condo puppies can chase a ball around the living room on non-slippery flooring. He can shake a toy, wrestle with or play tag with another dog his own size or slightly larger. (That’s why no one owns only one toy breed dog!!)


There are common-sense things you can do to minimize any risk of accident. For starters, don’t lift the puppy up on the bed or chair unless you plan to hold him in your lap or tuck him under the covers.


The rule is, only when he is old enough to jump up there by himself is he able to jump down safely.


All toy breeds, including my Fox Terriers love to jump, in fact they can be likened to perpetual motion pogo sticks when they are on one side of a fence and their person is on the other side! The pogo-stick routine can be hard on rear legs. If your dog is kenneled, it would be wise to confine him in a run with a low top to discourage the pogo stick routine. When he matures, he’ll be more likely to just bark to remind you he can’t open the gate…


If you are a breeder, don't miss this in-depth information on how to eliminate any genetic defects within three generations including cataracts, von Willibrands, copper toxicosis, PRA.  knee-patella problems which are in fact, genetic because they occur more often in Toy (small) dogs, EST 1998 © 2011.158



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